Flappy Bird game app goes the way of the dodo

Addictive game disappears from app stores as developer says: 'I can't take this anymore'

LAST UPDATED AT 12:58 ON Mon 10 Feb 2014

THE hit mobile game Flappy Bird mysteriously disappeared from Apple and Android app stores this weekend after its Vietnamese inventor began to feel the pressure of its sudden success.

On Sunday night the mobile game was removed from sale in the wake of a tweet from its inventor Dong Nguyen, who tweeted: "I cannot take this anymore."

The free game has become a huge hit, generating an estimated $50,000 per day in advertising revenue, rocketing to the top spot in the iTunes charts and challenging the dominance of Candy Crush. Since its release last May the Flappy Bird has been downloaded more than 50 million times.

The game challenged users to guide a pixelated bird through an obstacle course of green pipes, earning one point for each pipe cleared. The game's frustrating difficulty level and instant replayability were credited as being responsible for its enormous success.

The precise reason why it was withdrawn from the App Store is unknown. Some have speculated that its Vietnamese developer, Dong Nguyen, became frustrated with the sudden intense media attention and a reported barrage of personal abuse via social media.

Nguyen clarified that he was not removing the game for legal reasons. "I just cannot keep it anymore," he wrote.

In the wake of Flappy Bird's disappearance, other similar games have risen to fill the void. The near carbon-copy game Ironpants, which features a lycra-clad superhero flying past stacks of crates has moved to the number one slot on most international app stores. Nguyen's other games, Shuriken Block and Super Ball Dodging, which both feature similar one-touch gameplay, also continue to perform strongly.

Many regard the success of Flappy Bird as something of a mystery. The BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones writes: "What can we learn from Flappy Bird's brief but brilliant trajectory across the gaming landscape? That as the screenwriter William Goldman said about Hollywood and the movie-going public, when it comes to understanding what will make a successful game, 'nobody knows anything'."

Anyone who has already installed Flappy Bird will still have full access to the game, but it will no longer be available to download from the App Store. Such is the game's popularity that there have been reports of people selling handsets with the game installed on it. · 

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